Michael Bloomberg Donates Millions to Help Transition Away From Coal

Announcement comes one day after EPA initiates repeal of Clean Power Plan

By Connor McGuigan

October 11, 2017


Photo courtesy of the Sierra Club

Just one day after EPA administrator Scott Pruitt began enacting plans to repeal the Clean Power Plan, Michael Bloomberg pledged $64 million to a coalition of environmental groups dedicated to transitioning the United States away from coal energy. The announcement is a direct challenge to the Trump administration’s stated intent to bolster the ailing coal industry. Pollution from coal-fired power plants is the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. and kills 75,000 people annually.

Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign will receive the bulk of the funding. The former New York City mayor has already invested over $100 million in the Beyond Coal campaign to date. 

The Clean Power Plan is the Obama administration’s signature effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions from existing power plants. If implemented, the plan would push states to transition away from coal and toward cleaner sources of energy. In a speech on Monday about rolling back the Clean Power Plan, Pruitt declared, “The war on coal is over.” 

Bloomberg made the opposite case in his announcement this morning. Speaking from the Sierra Club’s Washington, D.C., office, Bloomberg acknowledged the “new challenge” posed by the federal government but remained optimistic about the efforts of community-led clean energy initiatives. “The war on coal was started and continues to be led by communities in both red and blue states who are tired of having their air and water poisoned when there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives available, cities and states that are determined to clean their air and reduce their costs, and businesses seeking to lower their energy bills while also doing their part for the climate,” he said.

Bloomberg cited a number of victories won by this multifaceted movement. The Beyond Coal campaign has worked to retire over half of the country’s coal-fired power plants since the program expanded in 2011 through the support of his philanthropic foundation. Bloomberg explained that the new grant will allow the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations to continue that progress, which hasn’t yet showed any signs of slowing. In fact, coal plants are retiring at the exact same rate since Trump was elected as they did under Obama. 

“The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington—and Washington cannot end it,” he said.